For the last two weeks or so, people on Twitter, Reddit, and Tumblr have been adding cowboy hats to pictures. Alas, this nascent cowboy-hat meme — a.k.a. the “What in Tarnation” meme — is on its way out, because some kid in Texas has created one so perfect that there is truly no reason for anyone to ever make one of these memes again.
To understand where this meme came from, you first need to have a decent working knowledge of My Little Pony, the cast of which includes a pony named Applejack, whose catchphrase is “What in tarnation.” Now, remember that the internet is strangely obsessed with My Little Pony, and fast-forward to January, when a picture of a Shiba Inu in a cowboy hat captioned with “What in tarnation” started making the rounds on Tumblr.
From there, the “What in Tarnation” gag — “Wot in tarnation” works too — evolved into a fully formed Twitter meme. People started placing cowboy hats atop, well, everything, accompanied by words that end in “-ation.”
So long as you can come up with a caption ending in an “-ation” word, and have some basic knowledge of how to edit images, you, too, can get in on this dumb meme.
Unfortunately, as with all good things on the internet, “What in Tarnation” has already become too widespread to remain a cool, good meme for much longer, according to /r/MemeEconomy. What in normalization, as they say.